India to stop thermal coal imports by FY24, says Pralhad Joshi

Ongoing coal shortage in India
The current coal shortage in India is caused by a sharp increase in power demand from the economy that is recovering from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Union Minister of Coal and Mines Pralhad Joshi said India will not import thermal coal from fiscal year 2023-24. The government and key stakeholders discussed ways to achieve Coal India’s target of one billion tonne output by fiscal year 2023-24, he said at a brainstorming session organised at Kevadia in Gujarat. The two-day session, Chintan Shivir, was organised to discuss the future of the coal sector. The session discussed out of the box solutions to the bottlenecks faced by the industry.

The coal ministry, Indian Railways and the shipping ministry will coordinate and enable Coal India and other miners evacuate more coal. The conclave discussed plans to make CIL an integrated energy company by setting up pithead thermal power plants. The state-run company could generate 5 GW solar power by 2023-24 and diversify into coal gasification by 2030. Detailed feasibility studies will be conducted before implementing these ideas, the minister said.

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The minister also urged coal companies to achieve zero mortality rate in three years by focusing on the safety of workers in the mining industry. The ministry of coal will institute an award to recognize best practices in productivity, safety and sustainability, he said.

Drilling agencies such as Central Mine Planning and Design Institute and Geological Survey of India were asked to benchmark their operations to international standards through digitisation of their databases, he said, adding that this would help achieve better utilisation in coming years.

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Strategies for sustainable mining, environmental issues, use of clean technologies and for helping stakeholders in and around coal mining areas, Joshi said.